First, an interesting polling note about this pollster itself. The Wall Street Journal has teamed up with NBC News to conduct national and state-level surveys for decades -- and we've analyzed them many times. But that longstanding alliance has apparently been dissolved, as the Journal launches its own proprietary polling product without any media partners. Axios reported on this development a few days ago, mining a few worthwhile nuggets:
Now, it's launching a new polling operation without media partners and it's bringing on campaign experts to help, the Journal’s executive Washington editor Jerry Seib told Axios. The company has contracted two firms led by John Anzalone, the lead pollster for President Biden's 2020 presidential campaign, and Tony Fabrizio, the lead pollster for former President Trump's presidential 2016 and 2020 campaigns. The firms will help put together the new "The Wall Street Journal Poll." The quarterly poll will explore political trends and voter sentiments around key issues. The data will be deployed across all Dow Jones properties, including Barron’s, Dow Jones Newswires and MarketWatch. The polls will have larger sample sizes, "to add confidence to the results and be able to look at demographic groups with increased statistical reliability," Seib said.
I think political observers should welcome innovations and changes in the polling space, given some of the industry's infamous flops and misses over the years (although successes sometimes get overlooked). That's why I find Trafalgar's work so intriguing. The inaugural Wall Street Journal poll was released yesterday, and its results are rather ugly for President Biden and his party. Let's start with the top line number on approval:
When it comes to intensity of sentiment, Biden's predicament comes into even clearer focus. Just 19 percent of voters strongly approve of his performance, while 46 percent strongly disapprove. Biden is underwater by 16 points overall, but he's in even worse shape among independent voters and those who say they're undecided ahead of the 2022 midterms. Among those voters, he's at (30/66) and (29/63), respectively. Thats abysmal. Republicans lead Democrats by three points on the generic Congressional ballot, a measure on which the GOP generally trails (and as mentioned, undecided voters have a very dim view of Biden's presidency). Being tied or even ahead is a very good sign for the current minority party, albeit with 11 months to go until voters go to the polls. On the number one issue facing voters, the economy, Republicans hold a double-digit advantage, 46 to 35 percent. The pollsters, who served Biden and Trump's campaigns last year, asked voters how they'd vote in a hypothetical 2024 rematch. Biden holds a statistically-insignificant one point lead over Trump, in spite of his dismal approval rating. But voters narrowly prefer Trump's policies:
but asked about whether voters want to go back to Trump *policies* vs. Biden policies, narrow plurality backed Trump:— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) December 7, 2021
Trump policies 48
Biden policies 46https://t.co/5dFD75AbCp
A large majority (27/63) of voters say the country is on the wrong track. Republicans lead on not just he economy (+11), but also tackling inflation (+18) and securing the border (+36). Democrats' advantages are on COVID and healthcare, with a single-digit lead on education. This is also a bit of a 'wow' data point, indicating that Republicans really are making serious gains among Hispanic voters. If this trend continues, when will Democrats start chanting about building a wall?
One year after giving Democratic House candidates more than 60% of their vote, according to polls at the time, the Journal survey found that Hispanic voters are evenly split in their choice for Congress. Asked which party they would back if the election were today, 37% of Hispanic voters said they would support the Republican congressional candidate and 37% said they would favor the Democrat, with 22% undecided. Hispanic voters were also evenly divided when asked about a hypothetical rematch in 2024 of the last presidential contenders, with 44% saying they would back President Biden and 43% supporting former President Donald Trump.
The insulting, out-of-touch 'LatinX' moniker is only emblematic of a larger problem Democrats have created for themselves, it seems. As for the fate of Biden's domestic 'Build Back Better' scheme, two crucial swing votes in the Senate are sounding...less than enthusiastic about spending trillions of dollars in this environment, particularly amid inflation. This is potentially ominous but relatively tepid stuff from Kyrsten Sinema:
SINEMA: "Inflation is real." pic.twitter.com/RqantkrnNi— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) December 3, 2021
I'll leave you with some thoughts from Joe Manchin, who has joined the GOP effort to oppose Biden's vaccine mandates on private sector businesses, and who is sounding even more hostile to the plan:
>@Sen_JoeManchin, speaking at @WSJ CEO Council Summit, says "the unknown" of inflation "is much greater than the need" to do Build Back Better right now.— Julie Tsirkin (@JulieNBCNews) December 7, 2021
Says reconciliation "should never have been used for major policy change."
So far, Manchin at the WSJ has said this on Build Back Better Act:— Tony Romm (@TonyRomm) December 7, 2021
It's moving too fast, it could worsen inflation, it may not be paid for, it has potential issues in tax, climate and social policy, it has gotten bigger since it passed House
This is not... super positive
A new Manchin riff on BBB fiscal gimmickry: "One goes for 3 years. One goes for 1 year and maybe one other one might go for the full 10 years. Do they not intend for those programs to last the full 10 years? Well, if you intend for that to happen, what's the real cost?"— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) December 7, 2021